October 31, 2010

F is for Finocchio

Finocchio is an adorable Italian word which translates to Fennel. An anise scented bulbous vegetable that pairs well with fish, Parmesan, and blood oranges. Native to the Mediterranean, this veggie was brought to the states over 200 years ago (most likely by the Spanish), it is a biennial that blooms in its second season. Fennel is prolific and will quickly take over your garden, much like mint.

Try using it in place of celery. Fennel is delicious shaved thin and eaten raw with Parmesan & arugula drizzled with olive oil. It holds up well to braising, roasting, caramelizing or grilling and infuses potatoes with a lovely licorice bite in this Tuscan inspired Pommes Anna. The Tuscan inspiration comes from the Fennel (of course) as well as olive oil.

Tuscan Pommes Anna
4 large yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed & sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed & sliced into 1/4" thick half moons
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
olive oil to drizzle (approximately 1 Cup)
sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a medium size casserole baking dish.

Drizzle the bottom of a 9-10" round casserole baking dish with a thin film of olive oil.

Cover the bottom the of dish with a layer of potatoes overlapping slightly, sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Scatter a mixture of thinly sliced fennel and onions, sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.
Continue this layering process with the remaining potatoes, fennel, onions & olive oil; ending with a layer of potatoes. Season every layer with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover with lightly oiled aluminium foil, tamp down the potatoes firmly and bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes until slightly golden. Let cool slightly, slice into wedges and garnish with a few chopped fennel fronds.

Delicious served with fish or something as simple as a warm spinach salad, wedge of Brie and a handful of olives.

Buon Appetito!

No comments:

Post a Comment